Jammu, Oct 12: The Government has proposed an amendment in Jammu and Kashmir Municipal Corporation, Municipalities and Panchayati Raj Acts to provide reservation to Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) and Panchayats. Elections to the two bodies will be held only after providing reservation to the OBCs reported Daily Excelsior.
Officials confirmed and said that process for conduct of Municipal and Panchayat elections hasn’t been halted and will resume once the Acts to provide reservation to OBCs in both the bodies are amended. However, the reservation roster will have to be prepared afresh for both the bodies as presently only Women, Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) are entitled to the quota in Municipalities and Panchayats.
While women have been provided 33 percent reservation in Municipalities and Panchayats, SCs and STs get quota based on their population in the two bodies. Similar process is likely to be followed for granting reservation to OBCs, the officials said, adding the reservation for OBCs may come around 10 percent.
Pointing out that many States and Union Territories have already given reservation to OBCs in Local Body elections, the officials said such a reservation was missing in Jammu and Kashmir.
“The Election Authorities received large number of objections to denial of reservation to OBCs in Municipalities and Panchayats. The Government of J&K also got many representations to this effect,” the officials said, adding it has now been decided that the OBCs will get reservation in Municipalities and Panchayats.
And, for the purpose, an amendment will be carried out in Jammu and Kashmir Municipal Corporations, Jammu and Kashmir Municipalities and Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Acts.
Only Women enjoy specific 33 percent reservation in Municipalities and Panchayats. Within 33 percent, reservation has also been given to SC Women and ST Women. Similarly, when OBCs are given reservation, a sub-category of OBC-Women will also be generated, the officials said.
They said the process for conduct of Urban Local Bodies and Panchayat elections hasn’t been abandoned but the Government will wait for amendment in the Act granting reservation to OBCs and thereafter rotating the reservation roster by taking out the exercise for reservation of Wards in Municipalities and Sarpanch and Panch constituencies in Panchayats afresh.
However, terms of Municipal Corporations of Jammu and Srinagar as well as other Municipal Councils and Committees across Jammu and Kashmir are scheduled to expire by the end of October or start of November and they will cease to exist. Similarly, terms of Panchayats will end on January 7 next year.
Both Urban and Rural Local Bodies will come into effect once again after the elections are conducted to them.
Polls to all Municipalities in Jammu and Kashmir were held in October 2018 after a gap of 13 years while elections to Panchayats were conducted in November and December 2018 after decades.
Meanwhile, Summary Revision for Parliament electoral rolls has been initiated by the Election Commission of India in Jammu and Kashmir.
As per the schedule, draft electoral rolls will be published on October 27. The voters can file claims and objections till December 9 to the draft rolls. Final voter lists will be published on January 5, 2024.
This will be third Summary Revision of electoral rolls in Jammu and Kashmir after completion of delimitation exercise for Assembly elections. First such exercise was ordered after Delimitation Commission report was notified and final electoral rolls were published on November 25, 2022.
Another Summary Revision was ordered on March 24, 2023 and final rolls were published on May 25, 2023. Jammu and Kashmir has almost 85 lakh electorates.
The Election Authority had undertaken separate revision for electoral rolls for Municipalities while such an exercise for Panchayat polls was scheduled to be completed on October 10.